By Courtney Leigh
Sometimes, most times, a charity needs manpower more than funds. Without volunteers, all the money in the country would do diddly-squat. So time, time, time is more valuable than gold...
The front page of my local paper reported a dog breeding kennel (only about 15 miles from my family's dog boarding kennel that I manage) charged with several counts of abuse, neglect, unsafe conditions, etc. The kennel had been reported in the past, but it had remained untouched. There were lots of people that had been waiting years for the county to do something about this particular breeding puppy-mill set on the side of a major roadway. Drivers could literally see dogs--TONS of dogs being neglected--as they drove past.
Three days after reading the story, I got a call at work from a dog rescue group in this area.
The director asked me if our business would help their charity deal with housing 50-60 Kuvasz over a 4-6 month period (not all at once! No more than 3 at a time:). For those of you unfamiliar with the breed, Kuvasz are big, white, fluffy, and were originally used for sheep-guarding. Which is why they blend with sheep so well. They're thinkers and jokers (I personally think they have the BEST senses of humor), and can be great family pets.
In any case, my mother and I discussed, and decided we could afford to commit 2 of our 8 kennels in the facility over to assist the endeavor of relocating the Kuvasz to foster homes, to other rescue groups throughout the US, or adopting them out to new families.
Though we do charge $5/day per dog, we have donated more time than anything else into these unsocialized, never-bathed-in-their-lives, insecure beasts who really do like people, but whose distrust is ingrained, instinctive and natural.
I've learned hotdogs are a great tool in luring never-been-touched Kuvasz. I've also learned how fulfilling time can be when you spend it well. And while I tell those volunteers to keep going, keep doing good things, keep striving for that end goal, they thank me for my time, too. Just think about who you'd like to help, what you can do even if you don't have much money to spare.
Because most of these dogs are one treat away from being a great pet. And it's such a gratifying sensation once you step up and help...I don't think I'll be able to look at hotdogs the same way after all of this is over!